Portland, OR

Portland's Financial Squeeze: 88 Layoffs Loom as City Grapples with $32 Million Cut

Ash Jurberg

Critical Services on the Chopping Block: Portland's $32 Million Budget Challenge

It looks like there are severe budget cuts ahead for the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). In a Portland City Council meeting today, members of PBOT advised in order to balance the budget, they would need to cut $32 million and 88 staff.

These cuts would be required despite already cutting $20 million in spending and laying off 60 employees.

We’ve already been belt-tightening for five years. There are no easy cuts remaining....Portland’s ability to deliver even the most basic transportation services is at risk. The fact is that we have a severe structural imbalance in how transportation is funded in our city.”” PBOT Director Millicent Williams

According to Oregon Live, the cuts would "halt large paving projects and put off replacing 30 disability-accessible ramps, stop snow plowing on secondary roads, and reduce funding for replacing Portland Streetcar vehicles."

"Let me be clear: there is no way to cut $30 million from PBOT’s budget without deeply undermining Portland’s transportation system. There are only two ways to balance PBOT’s budget. We can cut services, or we can raise revenues.” Commissioner Mingus Mapps

PBOT Director Millicent Williams requested the budget be funded by cuts in other departments, a request Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler did not agree to.

“I’m not willing to accept most of the cuts, but nor am I willing to take desperately needed resources away from public safety, when the community is overwhelmingly saying the number one issue is safety.” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

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